Tom Sorensen

OK, I have come around: If Leonard Fournette is available, Panthers should take him

I’ve been writing that the Carolina Panthers will not use their first pick on a running back.

I could be wrong. They very much like Louisiana State running back Leonard Fournette. The Panthers draft eighth on Thursday, and the odds that Fournette will slip past the Jacksonville Jaguars, who draft fourth, ought to be slim.

There’s a reason the Jaguars might not take him, however. They might not take Fournette because taking him makes sense. The last six seasons the Jaguars have won 22 of 96 games. You don’t compile a record of 22-74 by drafting well. If Fournette somehow slides to No. 8, I can’t fathom the Panthers passing on him.

We all have sources. With the No. 8 pick, mine like – not necessarily in this order – a running back, a safety, a defensive end, a cornerback, and a wide receiver.

It would be easier to tell you whom they won’t take. They won’t take a punter.

So unless they’re lying, and they never have, they’ll take the best player available.

I hope the player is Fournette.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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